With 16 seconds remaining in the Heat’s opening night victory over the Celtics, Rajon Rondo grabbed Dwyane Wade around the neck on a drive, earning a flagrant foul-one call from the officials.
The play was clearly made out of frustration, and was an unnecessary one with the Heat up by 11 with so little time left and the game already in the win column for the Heat. As you might imagine, Wade didn’t appreciate the move, and even looked like he was thinking about throwing the ball at Rondo to retaliate.
Wade was able to remain composed in the moment, but had strong words for his opponent afterward, and let it be known that the play will be remembered when the two teams meet next.
“I got my kids watching so I stopped myself but it was a punk play by him,” said Wade, who had a team-best 29 points in the win. “He clotheslined me.”
Wade hinted he might have a response the next time the teams play on Jan. 27 in Boston.
“I’m here to play basketball, man,” Wade said. “If you want to do something else, then go do something else. Boxing, this is not it. I was glad I was able to stop myself in that very moment and move on from it. We’ll see next time we play.”
As LeBron James said afterward in the same piece, “It wasn’t a basketball play.”
Simply put, these two teams honestly don’t like each other. And this play, along with the whole Ray Allen saga will only make the hate grow stronger as the season progresses — which will make it that much more interesting to the rest of us, and a lot of fun to watch.